Critique Group Resources

Pointers for a Productive Critique Meeting

  1. Go around the room, either randomly or in order, answering the following questions about the work:
    • What is already working in this piece and why? or What is working for you and why?
    • What would you like to know more about and why?
    • What is not working in this piece and why?
    • What are you confused about and why?
    • Do you have any suggested revisions? (Try not to tell the writer specifically how he/she should write)
  2. During the discussion, the writer is not allowed to speak, therefore, any questions or confusion must wait to be answered after everyone has given his or her comments.

  3. Avoid the usage of the terms "I like," "I don't like," "I love," and "I hate." Instead be specific about what works in the piece or what does not work for you and why.

  4. Nit-picky punctuation, grammatical, spelling, etc., errors are best left for written comment to the writer. However, if an error is what is causing confusion, then the error could be brought out in the discussion.

  5. After each person has given his or her comments and the general discussion is completed, the writer may say anything he or she wishes, including raising questions for the group to answer, explaining points that seemed to be unclear, answering questions, etc. This is the time for the writer to voice his or her honest reaction to the feedback in the room.

  6. Although we are looking for honest feedback on our work, the tone of the discussion should always be positive and constructive. Always include positive comments first. No one should come away feeling that he or she is a bad writer or that their work is not good enough for eventual publication. Writing is very personal and when we share our work, we are opening ourselves up to others. We need to trust in our membership to be accepting and non-judgmental to our ideas and subject matter. Our goal is always to encourage and inspire each other.

Additional Critiquing Resources

Writer Unboxed on critique groups that work:
http://writerunboxed.com/2017/03/12/a-writing-group-that-works/

Four blog posts from Karen Woodward on Critiquing:
http://blog.karenwoodward.org/2015/01/writing-critique-reading-critically.html

Critique checklist from Writers Helping Writers:
http://writershelpingwriters.net/critique-checklist-tool/

Jane Friedman on finding the right critique group:
https://janefriedman.com/find-the-right-critique-group/

Handling a bad critique from selfpublishingadvice.org:
http://selfpublishingadvice.org/how-to-deal-with-a-bad-critique/

A first-page checklist from Ray Rhamey:
http://www.floggingthequill.com/flogging_the_quill/